Monthly Archives: October 2011

St. John’s Episcopal Church, Northampton (1893)

St. John’s Episcopal Church in Northampton was established in 1826. The original wooden church was located on on Bridge Street and was designed by Thomas Pratt, a noted local builder. His son, architect William Fenno Pratt, later added the steeple and served as the church’s organist and choir director from 1836 to 1861. A new stone church, the gift of philanthrophist George Bliss of Brooklyn, New York, who was originally from Northampton, was built on Elm Street, adjacent to the campus of Smith College, in 1893. The church was designed by R.W. Gibson of New York and was built by the Norcross Brothers of Worcester.

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General Israel Putnam House (1648)

The earliest (rear) section of the Putnam House in Danvers was built in 1648 by Lt. Thomas Putnam. The house would go on to be the home of twelve generations of the Putnam family. During the Salem witchcraft trials, Joseph Putnam, who spoke out against the ongoing hysteria, lived on the property. Joseph’s son, Israel Putnam, for whom it’s now known, was born in the house in 1718. General Israel Putnam was a famous colonial officer and one of the primary figures at the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775. In the 1850s, Daniel Putnam operated a shoe-making business in the house and in the twentieth century, the family ran a candy and ice cream shop next door called the Putnam Pantry. A number of additions were made to the house over the years, including the eighteenth-century gambrel-roofed section that is now the front facade. The Putnam family gave the house to the Danvers Historical Society in 1991.

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Nathaniel Parsons House (1719)

About 1730 (now believed to be c.1719) Nathaniel Parsons built a single-chimney house on the homelot originally laid out by his grandfather, Joseph Parsons, in 1654. At one time the house was thought to have been built by Joseph Parsons, known as Cornet Joseph, one of the founders of Springfield and Northampton, whose wife, Mary Bliss Parsons, was famously found not guilty of witchcraft by a jury in 1675. The Parsons House was gradually remodeled and expanded over time by later owners. In 1941, the Parsons House was donated to Historic Northampton and became part of the organization’s collection of historic buildings. It has recently undergone restoration. (more…)

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Joseph Dewey House (1735)

The Joseph Dewey House, at 87 South Maple Street in Westfield, was built in 1735 as a saltbox house. Joseph Dewey was a prosperous farmer who also served as a militia sergeant and had been a town selectman in 1726. In 1756, Dewey sold the house to his son, also named Joseph. In the early nineteenth century, Benjamin Dewey made extensive interior and exterior alterations to the family home, replacing the roof, realigning the chimney and altering the front facade in the Federal style. The house was in the Dewey family until 1856 and then had a number of other owners over the years until 1972, when a developer sold it to the Western Hampden Historical Society. It was then moved 200 feet west, restored as much as possible to its colonial-era appearance and opened as a historic house museum.

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Seth Hunt House (1859)

At 115 Bridge Street in Northampton is a Gothic Revival house designed by local architect William Fenno Pratt. It was built in 1859 for Seth Hunt, president of the Connecticut Valley Railroad.

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Elizabeth Avery Talmadge House (1858)

In 2007, the former residence at 85 Broad Street in Westfield began conversion into a branch of the Easthampton Savings Bank, earning an Historical Preservation Award for Adaptive Reuse in 2009. The Historical Commission website and a newspaper article from that year call the building the Elizabeth Avery Talmadge House and date it to the early twentieth century (c.1910). The house, though, is in the Italianate style, which was popular decades earlier and also has the dates 1858 and 1859 prominently displayed on the roof cornice. Additionally, Elizabeth Avery Talmadge, for whom the house was named, had died in 1904. Elisha Talmadge, her husband, however died in 1858, which further supports a construction date for a house named for his widow in 1858-1859.

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Hampshire County Courthouse (1887)

The Hampshire County Courthouse in downtown Northampton was built in 1886-1887. Designed by architect Henry F. Kilbourn in the Richardson Romanesque style (with similarities to the Richardson-designed Hampden County Courthouse in Springfield), the building is the fourth courthouse on the site. The first was built in 1739 and the second in 1767. Isaac Damon designed the third building, built in 1812, which burned in 1886. The current building’s courtroom is seldom used for court business today, although there is office and storage space and a law library used by the judges and staff at the neighboring court building. Much of the the structure‘s space is used as offices by the Hampshire Council of Governments, which owns the building. An architectural assessment of the Courthouse was recently completed and there are plans to completely renovate it. This project will involve replacing the slate roof, the tiles on the building‘s tower and the 1973 plate glass windows. There will also be major structural reinforcement.

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